Serene’s Blog: My Trip to OmKoi, Thailand
Hi, everyone! Sorry I haven’t written in so long! Now that I’m here, I’m going to share a little bit about my recent trip to OmKoi, which is a southwestern district in the north of Thailand. I am living in Chiang Mai now, as some of you already know, so the trip to OmKoi was only about four hours by van. I was super excited to experience something new and to learn more about the district of OmKoi.
Early Wednesday morning at 3:00 a.m., I woke up, grabbed my bags, and headed over to meet the friends who would accompany me to OmKoi. Some of them had already been there, except T, my good friend who had never been there before, like me. Once we got to the place to where the van was waiting, T and I said goodbye to our parents and started our journey to OmKoi. We slept for three hours of the way.
Once we arrived, I ate an early lunch (cause I was hungry . . . as usual) and all five of us headed to the Wednesday market to buy some fruits and veggies to cook for lunch and dinner. It was really nice to experience a market different from Chiang Mai’s outdoor markets, because of the way everything was more traditional. Since it is the Lanna culture, most women wear traditional Northern Thai clothes, which is cool. Also, most of the people don’t speak Thai and speak their own language of OmKoi, which is the Karen language.
After we finished buying everything, we walked back to the café where I had lunch earlier and talked to a youth that lives in OmKoi. I rode on the back of her motorcycle and she drove me to the Bahá’í Hostel, where the others joined us shortly. The ride to the hostel was beautiful, so much greenery and mountains on all sides. I will never forget that motorcycle ride!
At the Bahá’í Hostel, everyone else had lunch, till K (the youth who drove me there) said that she wanted to show me and T around OmKoi. So off we went. We walked around the roads and looked at all the mountains and greenery. We even went to the house of K’s friend, who is 15. After talking for a bit, they said they wanted to take me and T to a river or stream. We agreed.
We walked through sticks, stones, twigs, and mud, but once we arrived, it was so worth it! We took off our shoes and waded in the cool water. After getting to the other side, we walked barefoot to pick passion fruit from the trees and eat them. K climbed the highest up a tree and brought down the best passion fruits for us! After slurping up the sweet passion fruit, we walked through more dirt and mud, to get to P’s (the 15-year-old girl) tomato farm, which was quite a climb, but very fun! There, we picked ripe tomatoes, which we then carried back down to where the stream was, and washed the tomatoes clean in the cool, fresh water. They tasted so delicious! Even better than the ones here in Chiang Mai! After finishing up the tomatoes, we went off to see a dam. It was very beautiful!
At around 2:00 p.m., we went to one of the friends’ houses. That’s where we would be staying. We just hung around there for a while till dinner, then went to sleep.
Day 2 was amazing as well. With the crisp, cool breeze from outside, we all got up and had breakfast individually. At 9:00 a.m., about 10 people came to the house and we all said prayers together, before starting to read paragraphs from Ruhi Book 5 (a book about junior youth) and discussing them. The topic for that day was service, and we were placed into two groups to talk about how we were going to approach this junior youth group, and talk about why service is so important and why we need to help our community.
After watching Frontiers of Learning, a video about how a JY group can improve a community, and eating lunch, we all set out to a village, where we talked to the JY group about service and service projects, after introducing ourselves and playing games. They each also wrote about what service they wanted to do together as a group and how many times a month they were going to do so. It went really well! We also said prayers with them and talked to one of the mothers about what she wanted to pray about.
At 5:00 p.m., we came back to the house and all gathered together to share about what we learned and what we did in our group. It was a beautiful day.
Day 3 was the same, though this time we were going to find new JY whom we had never met before, to take part in P’s new JY group, since she is 15. We had breakfast, read paragraphs from Book 5 and discussed together about how we would talk to the new JYs about joining a JY group.
After coming into the village, we sat down with a group of kids and JY and talked to them about the purpose of JY groups and how junior youth can change the world. I even taught them some words in Chinese and Persian, which was fun! The junior youth said they wanted to join a JY group soon, so that day also went really well! After that, we went over to P’s house and just hung out there for a while. P and I also fed some pigs while I was there! It was cool! On the way back to the house, we ate berries and interesting fruit which we plucked from trees. The fruits there are so good!
By the time we arrived at the house, the other group had not arrived yet, so we spent our time getting more fruit from the trees and eating them while we waited for the other group to come, since we didn’t have the house key. Once the other group arrived, a bunch of children were with them whom they had met earlier. The children were so cute and sweet, and we played games with them, took pictures together, and laughed so, so much.
After dinner, T and I packed our bags and said goodbye to all the new friends and everyone else we had met. It was pretty sad, but I hope to go back soon!
We drove to the Bahá’í Hostel to stay the night, because it was closer to the place where the van would be in the morning, so we arranged our things, then went off to bed, after going to 7-Eleven at 11:30 pm.
In the morning, we woke up with G, my animator, calling us, because the alarm we had set was for another day!! Thankfully she woke us up, or we would’ve missed our van!
After climbing onto the van, we drove back to Chiang Mai. I miss OmKoi and all my adventures there, and I hope to go back soon! I had the greatest time there, words cannot even express.
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